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Product Description

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • From the award-winning author of We Should All Be Feminists and Half of a Yellow Sun—the story of two Nigerians making their way in the U.S. and the UK, raising universal questions of race, belonging, the overseas experience for the African diaspora, and the search for identity and a home.

Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time.

Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland. 

Review

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction

“Dazzling. . . . Funny and defiant, and simultaneously so wise. . . . Brilliant.” — San Francisco Chronicle

“A very funny, very warm and moving intergenerational epic that confirms Adichie’s virtuosity, boundless empathy and searing social acuity.” —Dave Eggers, author of A Hologram for the King

“Masterful. . . . An expansive, epic love story. . . . Pulls no punches with regard to race, class and the high-risk, heart-tearing struggle for belonging in a fractured world.” — O, The Oprah Magazine

“[A] knockout of a novel about immigration, American dreams, the power of first love, and the shifting meanings of skin color. . . . A marvel.” — NPR

“A cerebral and utterly transfixing epic. . . . Americanah is superlative at making clear just how isolating it can be to live far away from home. . . . Unforgettable.” — The Boston Globe

“Witheringly trenchant and hugely empathetic . . . a novel that holds the discomfiting realities of our times fearlessly before us. . . . A steady-handed dissection of the universal human experience.” — The New York Times Book Review

“Adichie is uniquely positioned to compare racial hierarchies in the United States to social striving in her native Nigeria. She does so in this new work with a ruthless honesty about the ugly and beautiful sides of both nations.” — The Washington Post

“Gorgeous. . . . A bright, bold book with unforgettable swagger that proves it sometimes takes a newcomer to show Americans to ourselves.” — The Dallas Morning News

Americanah tackles the U.S. race complex with a directness and brio no U.S. writer of any color would risk.” — The Philadelphia Inquirer

“So smart about so many subjects that to call it a novel about being black in the 21st century doesn’t even begin to convey its luxurious heft and scope. . . . Capacious, absorbing and original.” —Jennifer Reese, NPR

“Superb . . . Americanah is that rare thing in contemporary literary fiction: a lush, big-hearted love story that also happens to be a piercingly funny social critique.” — Vogue

“A near-flawless novel.” — The Seattle Times

One of the Best Books of the Year
The New York Times • NPR • Chicago Tribune • The Washington Post • The Seattle Times • Entertainment Weekly • Newsday • Goodreads 
One of Time''s 10 Best Fiction Books of the 2010s

About the Author

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie grew up in Nigeria. Her work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared in various publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Times, Granta, The O. Henry Prize Stories, Financial Times, and Zoetrope: All-Story. She is the author of the novels Purple Hibiscus, which won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award; Half of a Yellow Sun, which was the recipient of the Women’s Prize for Fiction “Winner of Winners” award; Americanah, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award; the story collection The Thing Around Your Neck; and the essays We Should All Be Feminists and Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, both national bestsellers. A recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, she divides her time between the United States and Nigeria.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Princeton, in the summer, smelled of nothing, and although Ifemelu liked the tranquil greenness of the many trees, the clean streets and stately homes, the delicately overpriced shops, and the quiet, abiding air of earned grace, it was this, the lack of a smell, that most appealed to her, perhaps because the other American cities she knew well had all smelled distinctly. Philadelphia had the musty scent of history. New Haven smelled of neglect. Baltimore smelled of brine, and Brooklyn of sun-warmed garbage. But Princeton had no smell. She liked taking deep breaths here. She liked watching the locals who drove with pointed courtesy and parked their latest model cars outside the organic grocery store on Nassau Street or outside the sushi restaurants or outside the ice cream shop that had fifty different flavors including red pepper or outside the post office where effusive staff bounded out to greet them at the entrance. She liked the campus, grave with knowledge, the Gothic buildings with their vine-laced walls, and the way everything transformed, in the half-light of night, into a ghostly scene. She liked, most of all, that in this place of affluent ease, she could pretend to be someone else, someone specially admitted into a hallowed American club, someone adorned with certainty.
 
But she did not like that she had to go to Trenton to braid her hair. It was unreasonable to expect a braiding salon in Princeton—the few black locals she had seen were so light-skinned and lank-haired she could not imagine them wearing braids—and yet as she waited at Princeton Junction station for the train, on an afternoon ablaze with heat, she wondered why there was no place where she could braid her hair. The chocolate bar in her handbag had melted. A few other people were waiting on the platform, all of them white and lean, in short, flimsy clothes. The man standing closest to her was eating an ice cream cone; she had always found it a little irresponsible, the eating of ice cream cones by grown-up American men, especially the eating of ice cream cones by grown-up American men in public. He turned to her and said, “About time,” when the train finally creaked in, with the familiarity strangers adopt with each other after sharing in the disappointment of a public service. She smiled at him. The graying hair on the back of his head was swept forward, a comical arrangement to disguise his bald spot. He had to be an academic, but not in the humanities or he would be more self-conscious. A firm science like chemistry, maybe. Before, she would have said, “I know,” that peculiar American expression that professed agreement rather than knowledge, and then she would have started a conversation with him, to see if he would say something she could use in her blog. People were flattered to be asked about themselves and if she said nothing after they spoke, it made them say more. They were conditioned to fill silences. If they asked what she did, she would say vaguely, “I write a lifestyle blog,” because saying “I write an anonymous blog called Raceteenth or Various Observations About American Blacks (Those Formerly Known as Negroes) by a Non-American Black” would make them uncomfortable. She had said it, though, a few times. Once to a dreadlocked white man who sat next to her on the train, his hair like old twine ropes that ended in a blond fuzz, his tattered shirt worn with enough piety to convince her that he was a social warrior and might make a good guest blogger. “Race is totally overhyped these days, black people need to get over themselves, it’s all about class now, the haves and the have-nots,” he told her evenly, and she used it as the opening sentence of a post titled “Not All Dreadlocked White American Guys Are Down.” Then there was the man from Ohio, who was squeezed next to her on a flight. A middle manager, she was sure, from his boxy suit and contrast collar. He wanted to know what she meant by “lifestyle blog,” and she told him, expecting him to become reserved, or to end the conversation by saying something defensively bland like “The only race that matters is the human race.” But he said, “Ever write about adoption? Nobody wants black babies in this country, and I don’t mean biracial, I mean black. Even the black families don’t want them.”
 
He told her that he and his wife had adopted a black child and their neighbors looked at them as though they had chosen to become martyrs for a dubious cause. Her blog post about him, “Badly-Dressed White Middle Managers from Ohio Are Not Always What You Think,” had received the highest number of comments for that month. She still wondered if he had read it. She hoped so. Often, she would sit in cafés, or airports, or train stations, watching strangers, imagining their lives, and wondering which of them were likely to have read her blog. Now her ex-blog. She had written the final post only days ago, trailed by two hundred and seventy-four comments so far. All those readers, growing month by month, linking and cross-posting, knowing so much more than she did; they had always frightened and exhilarated her. SapphicDerrida, one of the most frequent posters, wrote: I’m a bit surprised by how personally I am taking this. Good luck as you pursue the unnamed “life change” but please come back to the blogosphere soon. You’ve used your irreverent, hectoring, funny and thought-provoking voice to create a space for real conversations about an important subject. Readers like SapphicDerrida, who reeled off statistics and used words like “reify” in their comments, made Ifemelu nervous, eager to be fresh and to impress, so that she began, over time, to feel like a vulture hacking into the carcasses of people’s stories for something she could use. Sometimes making fragile links to race. Sometimes not believing herself. The more she wrote, the less sure she became. Each post scraped off yet one more scale of self until she felt naked and false.
 
The ice-cream-eating man sat beside her on the train and, to discourage conversation, she stared fixedly at a brown stain near her feet, a spilled frozen Frappuccino, until they arrived at Trenton. The platform was crowded with black people, many of them fat, in short, flimsy clothes. It still startled her, what a difference a few minutes of train travel made. During her first year in America, when she took New Jersey Transit to Penn Station and then the subway to visit Aunty Uju in Flatlands, she was struck by how mostly slim white people got off at the stops in Manhattan and, as the train went further into Brooklyn, the people left were mostly black and fat. She had not thought of them as “fat,” though. She had thought of them as “big,” because one of the first things her friend Ginika told her was that “fat” in America was a bad word, heaving with moral judgment like “stupid” or “bastard,” and not a mere description like “short” or “tall.” So she had banished “fat” from her vocabulary. But “fat” came back to her last winter, after almost thirteen years, when a man in line behind her at the supermarket muttered, “Fat people don’t need to be eating that shit,” as she paid for her giant bag of Tostitos. She glanced at him, surprised, mildly offended, and thought it a perfect blog post, how this stranger had decided she was fat. She would file the post under the tag “race, gender and body size.” But back home, as she stood and faced the mirror’s truth, she realized that she had ignored, for too long, the new tightness of her clothes, the rubbing together of her inner thighs, the softer, rounder parts of her that shook when she moved. She was fat.
 
She said the word “fat” slowly, funneling it back and forward, and thought about all the other things she had learned not to say aloud in America. She was fat. She was not curvy or big-boned; she was fat, it was the only word that felt true. And she had ignored, too, the cement in her soul. Her blog was doing well, with thousands of unique visitors each month, and she was earning good speaking fees, and she had a fellowship at Princeton and a relationship with Blaine—“You are the absolute love of my life,” he’d written in her last birthday card—and yet there was cement in her soul. It had been there for a while, an early morning disease of fatigue, a bleakness and borderlessness. It brought with it amorphous longings, shapeless desires, brief imaginary glints of other lives she could be living, that over the months melded into a piercing homesickness. She scoured Nigerian websites, Nigerian profiles on Facebook, Nigerian blogs, and each click brought yet another story of a young person who had recently moved back home, clothed in American or British degrees, to start an investment company, a music production business, a fashion label, a magazine, a fast-food franchise. She looked at photographs of these men and women and felt the dull ache of loss, as though they had prised open her hand and taken something of hers. They were living her life. Nigeria became where she was supposed to be, the only place she could sink her roots in without the constant urge to tug them out and shake off the soil. And, of course, there was also Obinze. Her first love, her first lover, the only person with whom she had never felt the need to explain herself. He was now a husband and father, and they had not been in touch in years, yet she could not pretend that he was not a part of her homesickness, or that she did not often think of him, sifting through their past, looking for portents of what she could not name.
The rude stranger in the supermarket—who knew what problems he was wrestling with, haggard and thin-lipped as he was—had intended to offend her but had instead prodded her awake.
 
She began to plan and to dream, to apply for jobs in Lagos. She did not tell Blaine at first, because she wanted to finish her fellowship at Princeton, and then after her fellowship ended, she did not tell him because she wanted to give herself time to be sure. But as the weeks passed, she knew she would never be sure. So she told him that she was moving back home, and she added, “I have to,” knowing he would hear in her words the sound of an ending.
 
“Why?” Blaine asked, almost automatically, stunned by her announcement. There they were, in his living room in New Haven, awash in soft jazz and daylight, and she looked at him, her good, bewildered man, and felt the day take on a sad, epic quality. They had lived together for three years, three years free of crease, like a smoothly ironed sheet, until their only fight, months ago, when Blaine’s eyes froze with blame and he refused to speak to her. But they had survived that fight, mostly because of Barack Obama, bonding anew over their shared passion. On election night, before Blaine kissed her, his face wet with tears, he held her tightly as though Obama’s victory was also their personal victory. And now here she was telling him it was over.
“Why?” he asked. He taught ideas of nuance and complexity in his classes and yet he was asking her for a single reason, the cause. But she had not had a bold epiphany and there was no cause; it was simply that layer after layer of discontent had settled in her, and formed a mass that now propelled her. She did not tell him this, because it would hurt him to know she had felt that way for a while, that her relationship with him was like being content in a house but always sitting by the window and looking out.
 
“Take the plant,” he said to her, on the last day she saw him, when she was packing the clothes she kept in his apartment. He looked defeated, standing slump-shouldered in the kitchen. It was his houseplant, hopeful green leaves rising from three bamboo stems, and when she took it, a sudden crushing loneliness lanced through her and stayed with her for weeks. Sometimes, she still felt it. How was it possible to miss something you no longer wanted? Blaine needed what she was unable to give and she needed what he was unable to give, and she grieved this, the loss of what could have been.

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4.6 out of 54.6 out of 5
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Top reviews from the United States

Cathryn Conroy
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
This Is a Book to Be Cherished
Reviewed in the United States on November 28, 2017
I just have to say this first: I LOVED this book! And I also have to say that it was a little out of my comfort zone. Written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, this is a book about Nigeria. And Nigerians. And Nigerians who move to the United States. And England. And then move... See more
I just have to say this first: I LOVED this book! And I also have to say that it was a little out of my comfort zone. Written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, this is a book about Nigeria. And Nigerians. And Nigerians who move to the United States. And England. And then move back to Nigeria. What does a white woman from the ''burbs—even though those ''burbs are considered THE most diverse city in the country (according to a 2017 WalletHub analysis of 313 U.S. cities)—know about Nigeria? Well, that, my friends, is the joy and wonder of reading. We can experience what we do not know in our limited real lives.

Ifemelu and Obinze are in love. They are teenagers in Lagos, Nigeria with big dreams for the future that, for the most part, do not involve Africa. Ifemelu has an opportunity to move to the United States for college. Obinze, who cannot get a visa, still encourages her to go. She lives a life separate from him and does something that is so destructive to her soul she fully separates herself from Obinze—without telling him why. The book alternates between their two stories, as well as in the past and present, but the writing is so perfect this all works seamlessly.

But more than anything else, "Americanah" is a book about life and hope. Love and regret. Racism, prejudice and justice. Leaving home and going back. It is a book that speaks truths profound and witty. It is a book to be cherished.
391 people found this helpful
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Delle
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Americanah, so exquisite!
Reviewed in the United States on April 29, 2017
This is the first time that I have rated a book 5 stars! Adichie has now become my all time favorite writer. Her writing is exquisite, intelligent, somber, and thought provoking among other accolades that I can''t quite describe. I have been an avid reader for the past 60... See more
This is the first time that I have rated a book 5 stars! Adichie has now become my all time favorite writer. Her writing is exquisite, intelligent, somber, and thought provoking among other accolades that I can''t quite describe. I have been an avid reader for the past 60 years. Although I have read some excellent books, I can truly say that this story left no stone unturned, no questions left unanswered. I am not a reviewer, but I know what I like! I don''t like reviews that dissect each and every character, tell the plot, theme, problem and resolution. I just want to know why one does, or does not like a story. Therefore, I will do just that. Adichie''s characters are well fleshed out. She gets in their mind, body, and soul. She is a fluent writer, so lyrical. I traveled with them. Wanted to understand them. And I really wanted to taste their food and learn some Igbo. I just don''t know what took me so long to find Ms. Adichie. Shame on me!
127 people found this helpful
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Luke Hoover
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The most exciting thing that happens is a woman gets her hair braided
Reviewed in the United States on October 1, 2019
Goodness, this book is dreadful. The main character is so steeped in hypocrisy, the story is so bland and one-sided, the narrative jumps around and throws you off every time, each and every white character is a racist, each and every person of color is not, yadda yadda... See more
Goodness, this book is dreadful. The main character is so steeped in hypocrisy, the story is so bland and one-sided, the narrative jumps around and throws you off every time, each and every white character is a racist, each and every person of color is not, yadda yadda yadda; it is so boring. If I wanted to be lectured about how white people''s ignorance is the reason for all of the problems in the black community, I would just read a CNN article. But no, I am forced by my university to endure this nearly 600 page book. This has ruined novels for me.
34 people found this helpful
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William B. Radl
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Love, culture and race...
Reviewed in the United States on December 29, 2016
A June, 2016 Pew research study was titled On Views of Race and Inequality, Blacks and Whites are Worlds Apart. While interesting, the Pew study, like so much of what we "know" about America, comes in a distilled abstraction that does not elicit a feeling. In Americanah,... See more
A June, 2016 Pew research study was titled On Views of Race and Inequality, Blacks and Whites are Worlds Apart. While interesting, the Pew study, like so much of what we "know" about America, comes in a distilled abstraction that does not elicit a feeling. In Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Aditchie personalizes the various and real meanings of race, racism, black, white, foreign, and native, and describes feelings of anger, hurt, joy and love as she follows a Nigerian couple from high school into the beginning of middle life. Together and in love as young people in Africa they eventually move apart, to different parts of the world, seeing themselves over and over again through the eyes of those raised in cultures that they had long admired, but surprised and confused by the disconnect between expectation and reality, struggling to hold on to their dreams and failing. Their friends follow much the same trajectory and each reconciles to their new culture differently, giving up parts of themselves and acquiring new parts to survive.

This is a wide ranging, smart novel that makes the ideas of race and color and gender real in the context of the sexual, political, religious and intellectual cultures of America, Nigeria and England. Ifemelu, the young woman we follow from Africa to America and back, at one point, frustrated by a young American white woman who asks about the book she is reading thinks, "Why (do) people ask “What is it about?” as if a novel ha(s) to be about only one thing." This novel is about many many things.

And though she is not optimistic about racism in America, Aditchie gives us one answer from Ifemelu: "The simplest solution to the problem of race in America? Romantic love. Not friendship. Not the kind of safe, shallow love where the objective is that both people remain comfortable. But real deep romantic love, the kind that twists you and wrings you out and makes you breathe through the nostrils of your beloved. And because that real deep romantic love is so rare, and because American society is set up to make it even rarer between American Black and American White, the problem of race in America will never be solved."
84 people found this helpful
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Richard A. Lockshin
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Wonderful insight into a world most of us do not know
Reviewed in the United States on April 21, 2017
I generally am not enthusiastic about novels, particularly those that use lots of details rather than beautiful writing to evoke a scene. In Americanah, Ms Adichi tells an interesting story that is ultimately a love story, but to me the most interesting parts of the book... See more
I generally am not enthusiastic about novels, particularly those that use lots of details rather than beautiful writing to evoke a scene. In Americanah, Ms Adichi tells an interesting story that is ultimately a love story, but to me the most interesting parts of the book are her extensive blogs, which are very fresh and which create by detail as well as by language a moving and occasionally plaintive image of the loneliness and confusion of an immigrant, interspersed from time to time with an exhilaration of comfort and success in a new land. Since she is Nigerian, she adds to this mix her encounter with racism and interactions with both Nigerians from other tribes and with American Blacks. Overall it is a fascinating insight into a world crossed but rarely visited by many, and for this reason alone it is a very worthwhile read.
35 people found this helpful
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Sofia
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
wonderful first half; second half utter disappointment
Reviewed in the United States on July 10, 2020
I loved the first half of this book. I very much enjoyed the part set in Nigeria. Very well written, and I cared about all the caracters, e.g. friends and family of both Ifemelu and Obinze. The plot was captivating. Even the part in the US started off well, I found... See more
I loved the first half of this book. I very much enjoyed the part set in Nigeria. Very well written, and I cared about all the caracters, e.g. friends and family of both Ifemelu and Obinze. The plot was captivating. Even the part in the US started off well, I found Ifemelu''s struggles to find a job interesting and relatable. At first, I even liked her portrayal of the silly and ignorant remarks Americans (and Europeans) make about race. Spot on, I thought. But then something weird happened: the plot suddenly fell apart and all that remained was Ifemelu''s rambling repetitions of how narrow-minded, pretentious, and stupid everyone is. Ironically, I found the "blog posts" superficial, self-righteous, and redundant. And worst of all, painfully narrow-minded, and, at times, offensive when it came to other ethnic groups or cultures.
I had a feeling the author literally wanted to document every single annoying conversation about race she has experienced in America and Europe even at the expense of sacrificing her plot entirely.
Sadly, Ifemelu had become such an unpleasant character that I could not bring myself to finish the book. By the end, I did not care if she would indeed return to Nigeria or reunite with Obinze.
This book could have been saved by proper editing.
10 people found this helpful
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Mouhamadou Diagne
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
My story has final been written
Reviewed in the United States on August 6, 2015
As a west African born and raised in Senegal but immigrated to the U.S. At a young age, I had always wanted to see a story like mine captured in a work of fiction. I used to think that I would have to write that book myself, since I really could not see it on bookshelves.... See more
As a west African born and raised in Senegal but immigrated to the U.S. At a young age, I had always wanted to see a story like mine captured in a work of fiction. I used to think that I would have to write that book myself, since I really could not see it on bookshelves. I''m referring to books about being an African immigrant to the United States. How we identify racially and how that is different from African Americans. Some of the challenges with immigration papers, unemployment, and being taken advantage of due to our lack of familiarity with the American system.

Needless to say, I absolutely adored this book. It was incredibly well-written and worth all 500+ pages necessary. The characters were so alive o felt like they were in the same room as me. This is definitely one of my all-time favorite books.
138 people found this helpful
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Dr. Bert
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
It''s not often that you find a brilliant social commentary and a compelling piece of fiction in ...
Reviewed in the United States on March 10, 2017
It''s not often that you find a brilliant social commentary and a compelling piece of fiction in a single book; but this book is clearly both. Adiche''s work immerses the reader in the world of her narrator, and her point of view becomes your own. You feel her bewilderments... See more
It''s not often that you find a brilliant social commentary and a compelling piece of fiction in a single book; but this book is clearly both. Adiche''s work immerses the reader in the world of her narrator, and her point of view becomes your own. You feel her bewilderments and revel in her insights. I can say unequivocally that I see the American racial divide more clearly after reading Americanah, even though I am bred and brought up in the U.S. Her narrator''s naive voice exposes not just her own, but the reader''s blindness to the real meaning of racial bias in America - not the obvious prejudice and discrimination, but the way in which racial biases have seeped into the fabric of intellectual understandings of those of us who don''t believe we are biased. Adiche exposes the cruelties of the dominance of whiteness-as-beauty and the pain of living an inauthentic life, no matter much it represents success. Thankfully, her narrator ultimately chooses to honor her own world view, a lesson for the rest of us, even if most of her readers may not have such an easy solution as returning "home". A fantastic, thought-provoking book that will stay with the reader forever.
24 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Disappointing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 27, 2020
The writing and some of the observations and details were superb. However to me Ifemelu was such a selfish, self centered and self righteous woman that it made the book hard to read at times. For instance, I really disagreed with her comment on transcultural relationships...See more
The writing and some of the observations and details were superb. However to me Ifemelu was such a selfish, self centered and self righteous woman that it made the book hard to read at times. For instance, I really disagreed with her comment on transcultural relationships being too much work. What a narrow view. If you love the person and they stimulated you intellectually, you would actually enjoy sharing your lives, triumphs and frustrations with them. Her behavior with Curt was appalling. She basically used him, was the beneficiary of his “legal” help, but deep down she resented him for his background and his “privilege”. So instead of displaying all this pride that she talked about and refuse his help and break up with him, she cheated on him. Worse she couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t just forgive. Her relationship with Blaine was an example of this self centered behavior and self righteousness. He represented her ideal American man. Black and educated. However she didn’t like him for him and was very judgmental of his friends and interests. Two examples were the situation with the protest (that she basically thought was silly and she couldn’t be bothered with) and this comment about American children education. Her superior attitude when she came back to Lagos was unbearable at times. Lastly her attitude with Odinze really took the cake. She basically cut him off but would from time to time send him a crumb. How selfish. Why tell him months in advance that you’re coming to Lagos if you’re not going to contact him? Then knowing that he is married she propositionhim and once they’re in a full blown affair she gets upset that he wants to reflect on what he is doing before making a decision which has far reaching consequences. How ironic how she thought her aunt was selling herself short by being a mistress but she jumped into it herself. I was disappointed in the ending as I spent the whole book waiting for her return to Lagos and the rekindling of her romantic relationship, and it felt really minimal. For instance, they never lived together so how did they managed their new life, his wealth and her attitude?
20 people found this helpful
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J. Ang
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Despite Our Differences
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 8, 2016
This is a love story about Ifemelu and Obinze, star-crossed lovers who traverse time and space (both geographical and cultural) and eventually journey apart. Perhaps not that spectacularly different from the trajectory of countless other love stories, but Adichie''s novel...See more
This is a love story about Ifemelu and Obinze, star-crossed lovers who traverse time and space (both geographical and cultural) and eventually journey apart. Perhaps not that spectacularly different from the trajectory of countless other love stories, but Adichie''s novel stands apart for its bold, full frontal assault on racial issues. Ifemelu is the titular Americanah, returning to Lagos, Nigeria, after shutting down her blog and a breakup. As she sits in a hair salon, getting her braids done, she reflects on her relationship with Obinze, whom she had left behind in Lagos, and become estranged with after a traumatic episode she suffered while she was a young postgrad in Philadelphia, and the backstory of their young love and her journey to the States ensues. The narrative weaves seamlessly through the past and present, and occasionally focuses on Obinze, though Ifemelu is clearly the main focaliser of the story. Through Ifemelu''s controversial blog on race relations in America, Adichie discusses weighty issues that Ifemelu confronts as a kind of insider-outsider where she is suddenly made aware of her skin colour and difference from African Americans, and the befuddling contradictions that go with asserting her identity. The contents of Ifemelu''s blog, which are interspersed throughout most of the novel, is an effective way of broaching these issues without becoming too preachy or derailing the narrative. Ifemelu is also struck by the attitudes of fellow immigrants from Nigeria. She observes of some online writers and what they would do after visiting their hometowns on hard-earned savings: "Afterwards, they would return to America to fight on the Internet over their mythologies of home, because home was now a blurred place between here and there, and at least online they could ignore the awareness of how inconsequential they had become." As a novel that details characters'' cross-cultural experiences, it is easy to lapse into caricature and generalisations, but Adichie succeeds in presenting a nuanced account which is both moving and thought-provoking.
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rachel irven
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Loved this book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 27, 2019
Read this book on Kindle while on holiday and found it an engaging and fascinating read. I have read other novels by Chimananda and always enjoyed them (just read her short stories The Thing around your neck, which I also really liked, each story individual, believable and...See more
Read this book on Kindle while on holiday and found it an engaging and fascinating read. I have read other novels by Chimananda and always enjoyed them (just read her short stories The Thing around your neck, which I also really liked, each story individual, believable and enjoyable). But I think this has been my favourite so far. I ended up reading the last bit on the plane on the way home and was totally engrossed. Could not wait to find out what happened to the characters, they really came alive to me although they came from a culture and place I know little about. Brilliant, will recommend to friends, bookgroup etc
17 people found this helpful
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Jess S
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A bit of everything
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 14, 2020
It''s A) a love story, B) a coming of age novel, C) a treatise on race in the United States, D) all of the above. If you picked D, you''re correct! Adichie''s deconstruction of race in America, as seen through a newcomer''s eyes, is potent and compelling. She has a keen eye and...See more
It''s A) a love story, B) a coming of age novel, C) a treatise on race in the United States, D) all of the above. If you picked D, you''re correct! Adichie''s deconstruction of race in America, as seen through a newcomer''s eyes, is potent and compelling. She has a keen eye and a delicate, almost considerate, touch when discussing sensitive (for most white folks) topics like white privilege and ignorance. In some places her prose is languid and poetic and in others it feels taut and affected. It all somehow works, though. Despite the divergent flow of the writing, it feels natural and necessary and intentional. I liked Ifemelu and Obinze and I rooted for them both. Together and separately, as they were navigating their worlds. I felt for each other as they celebrated triumphs and weathered their personal storms. Although I can''t say I ever felt *wholly* invested in them as characters, they were so smart, open, and adventurous that I felt an easy kinship with them that was enough for me to want the best for them. I''d like to give this five stars but, if I''m honest, Americanah is a bit of a mess. It''s a little bit all over the place (timeline, narration, location, genre) but everywhere it ends up is beautiful in its own right. I would happily recommend it.
7 people found this helpful
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S. Sagawe
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A soulful, heartwarming, truthful look into the heart of Nigeria and a Nigerian!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 8, 2018
I truly loved this book and will recommend it to people who are the least likely to pick it up. She weaves a story with rich characters; imperfect, hopeful, sometimes bitter, all trying to find a life that allows them happiness and opportunity despite the color of their...See more
I truly loved this book and will recommend it to people who are the least likely to pick it up. She weaves a story with rich characters; imperfect, hopeful, sometimes bitter, all trying to find a life that allows them happiness and opportunity despite the color of their skin, which was not a limiting factor in their home country but most definitely was outside of it. I learned a lot about my country, America, through the eyes of a Nigerian immigrant. I would love for this to be required reading in all American High School curriculums to help breakdown our sad polarization and understand what it means to be AB and NAB in America. On a lighter note, As a white woman I also have a new, profound respect for what black women go through with their hair! I was sadly, totally unaware of the extremes some women go to for relaxed hair and will NEVER judge the Choice to stay natural or to relax or to braid or anything else. I loved the insight and sometimes comical struggle! We should not make political assumptions based on a black woman’s hair style. This is bonkers! Just loved this book!
15 people found this helpful
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